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Bob’s Advice for Kid Who can’t have a Dog


I am a 9-year-old boy. My friend is getting a dog and I really want one too. But my dad is allergic to dogs. No matter what I say, he always says I can’t have a dog because of his allergies. I don’t want to be a kid who can’t have a dog.

– Doomed to be Dogless


Please don’t think of yourself as doomed. I am dogless myself and I live a happy and full life. I know that many kids love dogs, but not everyone can have one. You are not the only kid who can’t have a dog.

I have a cousin who is very allergic to dogs (and horses too). Whenever she is near one – or even a blanket used by one – she feels terrible. Her eyes itch and water and she can’t stop sneezing. She gets all stuffy-nosed and stuffy-headed and even has trouble breathing. Allergies can be very uncomfortable and I wouldn’t want anyone to have to deal with them every day. So I can understand your dad saying no to a dog. We don’t want him to feel or be sick.

Parents have the final decision for any pets for their kids. And they have the final responsibility too. I know this is hard for you, but it’s important to respect your dad’s decision. So you are a kid who can’t have a dog. But there are many things that you can still do. And even with dogs! Here are some ideas:

  • Your friend might let you play with their dog. (Hey, wait a minute, is this your friend?)
  • Other friends, neighbors or family members with dogs might let you spend time and play with and maybe even help train their dogs.
  • You could offer to pet sit for those people when they go on vacation. That would help you to learn about the responsibilities that go with having a dog.
  • An older (adult) family member who is not allergic could be your partner to volunteer together at a pound or shelter taking care of homeless pets.
  • You could go to the dog park to meet and spend time with a lot of different dogs. That is best done with an older family member too.
  • You could ask your dad if there is any other type of pet you could have in order to experience the everyday tasks as well as fun of pet ownership.
  • If you do some of these things, then when you are older you will have a good idea of whether you still want a dog. Then you can think about having a job around dogs or even adopting one of your own when you are an adult with your own house.

Don’t despair. Be respectful of your dad’s health and keep your chin up. A kid who can’t have a dog now can grow into an adult who can have a dog if they are willing to take on the responsibility.


-Bob Cat

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Jenifer Tull-Gauger Kyoshi

Children's picture book author/illustrator. Traditional karate teacher and practitioner. Loves drawing and all kinds of art. Also into animals, plants and Mother Nature.

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